322. Breaking Up with Damaging Conventions in Romance: A Conversation with Kate Cuthbert

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Today I’m chatting with Kate Cuthbert. Until very recently, Kate was the Managing Editor of Escape Publishing, Harlequin Australia. This was recorded while she still worked in that position. She’s recently accepted a new position as the Program Manager at Writers Victoria, the Victoria Australia state-wide professional organization for writers. Congrats! Kate recently gave a keynote speech at Romance Writers of Australia that received a lot of attention after it was posted online. She addressed the tropes that are damaging, toxic, and regressive, and explained that maybe it’s time we broke up with them. I read her speech online, but because speeches are meant to be heard, I asked her if she’d both talk about the development of her speech, and read it again for you all. It’s very thought provoking and affectionate while being critical and I think attentive to what the genre says to readers. She talks about dubious consent, making deliberate choices about writing, and what our defaults in tropes, character type, and cliche really mean, or actually say beneath the familiarity. We also talk about hot fox characters (because reasons), and of course she recommends a book that’s been passed around the office to everyone who’s had a rough day. Stay tuned for that, for sure.

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